I step inside a mile-long meandering gorge, in a place completely unlike anywhere else I’ve been before. I carry on walking until the rose coloured rock carving known to the world as the Treasury starts to famously appear. Then I stop and stare.
It’s funny that Petra has become synonymous with the Treasury, yet I haven’t written about it until now. In contrast, my first article about Petra – named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, was all about hiking to the Monastery via the back entrance, but there is no denying that entering Petra through its well-known front route is an experience not to be missed.
Sometimes when I begin writing about a travel experience my memory doesn’t have the panache to bring the finer details alive. But the memory I have of walking from the Siq to the Treasury must be carved deep into my grey matter, as there’s little struggle to remember the chalky pathway, how I felt as sunlight broke between the narrow gorge, and the sound of chariots bolting past. I was completely lost in my own little world, taking everything in one step at a time.
The mile-long pathway to the Treasury winds its way through a gorge called the Siq. At times the gorge is deceptively narrow and can reach up to 180 metres high which creates a setting fit for any adventure film. In fact, it was the setting of the well-loved action film – Indiana Jones!
Staring up at the colossal rocks, I felt like I’d dropped inside the bottom of an earthquake, looking up at the space directly where the land had separated into two parts. This feeling is no exaggeration, or actually far from the truth after I learn the Siq was formed by tectonic movement pulling the rocks apart, and over the years water had rubbed the surfaces smooth and created beautiful curves of yellow, orange and pink rock.
I passed only a few people during the mile long walk, and the quietness was broken up by the odd chariot thumping past and a friendly Bedouin here and there asking if I wanted a ride to the Treasury. But why would I? Why would anyone want to ride a chariot, when you can let the anticipation build up by walking as slowly as possible – and just think of all the photo opportunities you’d miss!
It’s not long before the vision you’ve been waiting for falls upon you, and the exquisite façade of the Treasury dominates your eyeline. You’ll find this is the focal point for visitors, lines of camels, and Bedouins flitting between different languages as they communicate with international crowds. And now is the perfect time to soak up their knowledge of Petra – I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how willing Bedouins are at sharing tales of their homeland with you.
And just in case you haven’t seen enough pictures… Here’s one more!
Would you like to Walk through the Siq and explore Petra?
For more information about what you can do in Jordan, have a browse through my archives.